Stepanakert Airport

Stepanakert Airport (Armenian: Ստեփանակերտի Օդանավակայան), referred to as the Khojaly Airport (Azerbaijani: Xocalı Hava Limanı) in Azerbaijan, is an airport in the town of Ivanyan (Khojaly), 10 kilometers north-east of Stepanakert, the regional capital of the de facto Republic of Artsakh, de jure part of Azerbaijan. The airport, in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, has been under the control of the republic since 1992. Flights ceased with the escalation of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1990.

Stepanakert Airport

Ստեփանակերտի օդանավակայան
Stepanakert Airport Daytime.JPG
Airport typeMilitary and civilian
OperatorRepublic of Artsakh
Artsakh (de facto)
Azerbaijan (de jure)
Elevation AMSL2,001 ft / 610 m
Coordinates39°54′05″N 46°47′13″E / 39.90139°N 46.78694°E / 39.90139; 46.78694 (Stepanakert Air Base)Coordinates: 39°54′05″N 46°47′13″E / 39.90139°N 46.78694°E / 39.90139; 46.78694 (Stepanakert Air Base)
Stepanakert is located in Republic of Artsakh
Location of the Airport
Stepanakert is located in Azerbaijan
Stepanakert (Azerbaijan)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 2,178 7,145 Asphalt
Source: DAFIF[1]

In 2009, the Armenian authorities began the reconstruction of the facilities.[2] Though it was scheduled to launch the first commercial flights on May 9, 2011, NKR officials postponed the new reopening date throughout 2011.[3] In May 2012, the director of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Civil Aviation Administration, Tigran Gabrielyan, announced that the airport would begin operations in mid-2012.[4] However the airport remains closed due to security reasons, as the Azerbaijani state has continuously threatened to shoot down flights.


The airport is located at an elevation of 2,001 feet (610 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 05/23 with an asphalt surface measuring 2,178 by 37 metres (7,146 ft × 121 ft).[1]


By the end of 1980 the airport served regular passenger flights from Yerevan to Stepanakert. With the escalation of the Karabakh conflict, the authorities of the Azerbaijan SSR blockaded the Armenian SSR; the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (or NKAO) airport was the only means of communication with the outside world from the Karabakh region. The airport has been under the control of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic since the ceasefire agreement of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994.


In 2009, the construction of a new passenger terminal began. Repair work was also conducted on the main runway.[2] According to Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Urban Development Minister Karen Shahramanian, the terminal building would be completed in November 2010; however this was delayed until April 2011.[5] Air navigation equipment was also installed.[2] The authorities claim that the renovated airport will be capable of receiving 200 passengers every hour.[6]

On April 5, 2011, it was announced that the opening of the airport had been postponed.[7] Dmitry Adbashyan, the head of NKR Civil Aviation Service announced that the airport launch would take place in summer of 2011.[8][9] NKR officials also insisted that the postponement was not related to the ongoing dispute with Azerbaijan.[8][10]


Shortly after the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Civil Aviation Department's statement announcing the May 9, 2011 opening date, Arif Mammadov, director of Azerbaijan's Civil Aviation Administration warned that according to aviation laws, flights from Yerevan to Stepanakert are not authorized and may be shot down.[11][12]

The NKR response came from David Babayan, head of the central information department of the NKR President's office, who said that the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army "will give an adequate response" if Azerbaijan attempts to shoot down an aircraft.[13] President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan condemned the threat to shoot down civilian aircraft, dismissing it as "nonsense".[14][15] Sargsyan also said that he would be the first passenger of the inaugural Yerevan-Stepanakert flight.[14]

The Azerbaijani presidential administration condemned Sargsyan's statement as a provocation on the part of Armenia. A few days later, Elkhan Polukhov, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, declared that “Azerbaijan did not and will not use force against civil facilities.”[16]

The United States Assistant Secretary, Philip Gordon, as well as then ambassadors to Azerbaijan and Armenia, Matthew Bryza and Marie L. Yovanovitch, respectively, characterized Azerbaijan's threat as "unacceptable"; and advised that issues related to the security of the airport should be solved before its opening.[17][18][19][20][21]

The OSCE Minsk Group, which mediates the conflict, reaffirmed that the operation of this airport could not be used to support any claim of a change in the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, and urged the sides to act in accordance with international law and consistent with current practice for flights over their territory.[22]

The United States ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar stated in November 2012 he was "convinced that the functioning of the airport would not help the peace process."[23]

Russian troops marching at the airport.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who stated “that such provocative actions will not serve to promote the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict," and called on Armenia "to stop such provocative steps.”[24] The GUAM's Secretary General Valeri Chechelashvili responded by stating that the airport was within the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan and can not operate without Azerbaijan's permission.[25]

On April 14, 2011, 23 members out of 324 from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) endorsed a declaration condemning "the construction by Armenia of an airport in the occupied Azerbaijani territories."[26]

The Turkish government condemned the efforts of Armenia to open the airport, and reiterated that it will close its air space to Armenia, if the opening goes ahead.[27]

Airlines and destinationsEdit

It was expected that the airport would have regular flight services only to Yerevan, Armenia, with state-owned carrier Artsakh Air. Created on January 26, 2011, it intended to purchase three Bombardier CRJ200 jets in 2011.[5] Officials have only stated that a one-way air ticket to the Armenian capital will cost 16,000 drams (US$45).[2] As of December 2021, flights had not started.[28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Airport information for UB13[permanent dead link] from DAFIF (effective October 2006)
  2. ^ a b c d "Karabakh To Reopen Stepanakert Airport". Asbarez. 5 October 2010. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  3. ^ "Nagorno-Karabakh Flights On Hold Despite Airport Reconstruction". RFE/RL. May 16, 2011. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
  4. ^ (in Armenian) "«Հայկական ժամանակ».Ստեփանակերտի օդանավակայանը վերջապես շահագործման կհանձնվի Archived 2014-01-02 at the Wayback Machine" (Haykakan Zhamanak: Stepanakert Airport will Finally Become Operational). Yelaket Lratvakan. May 30, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Nagorno-Karabakh Airport Preparing For First Flights In Decades". RFE/RL. January 27, 2011. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
  6. ^ "[[Stepanakert Archived 2019-10-07 at the Wayback Machine airport to work after 10-year break]." February 2, 2011.
  7. ^ "Nagorno-Karabakh Flights On Hold Despite Airport Reconstruction". RFE/RL. May 16, 2011. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Stepanakert airport to start operating before September". ArmRadio. 2011-05-11. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Construction works of Stepanakert airport underway". May 15, 2011. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Stepanakert airport opening postponed for 'technical reasons'". ArmeniaNow. April 6, 2011. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  11. ^ "Azerbaijan: Flights to Nagorno Karabakh Will Be Boarding at Gunpoint". EurasiaNet. March 17, 2011. Archived from the original on March 21, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  12. ^ "Azerbaijan threatens to down Armenian flights". Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review. March 17, 2011. Archived from the original on March 20, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
  13. ^ Ghazinyan, Aris. "Air Message: Response to threats against the new airport in Stepanakert Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine." ArmeniaNow. March 22, 2011.
  14. ^ a b "Sarkisian Says He'll be 1st Passenger of the Yerevan-Stepanakert Flight". Asbarez. March 31, 2011. Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  15. ^ "Armenian leader to defy plane attack threat". Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review. Agence France-Presse. March 31, 2011. Archived from the original on 2021-02-04. Retrieved 2011-05-19.
  16. ^ "Baku Retreats From Karabakh Flight Threats Archived 2012-03-21 at the Wayback Machine." RFE/RL. April 1, 2011.
  17. ^ Foreign Press Center With Philip H. Gordon, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine, Embassy of the United States in Turkey, Tuesday, April 19, 2011
  18. ^ U.S. Department of State: threats to shoot down Karabakh-bound planes unacceptable Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine, PanArmenian.Net, April 20, 2011
  19. ^ "Security issues should be resolved before opening Stepanakert Airport - Mathew Bryza Archived 2012-03-18 at the Wayback Machine." March 29, 2011.
  20. ^ "U.S.: Armenia, Azerbaijan 'Must Pull Out Snipers' Archived 2016-08-18 at the Wayback Machine." RFE/RL. March 19, 2011.
  21. ^ "Azerbaijan’s statements quite unacceptable, U.S. Ambassador says Archived 2019-01-01 at the Wayback Machine." March 23, 2011.
  22. ^ Statement of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Archived 2013-01-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Rauf Orujov. State Department on Khojaly Airport: Ambassador Made Clearer Statement Archived 2015-05-31 at the Wayback Machine. Zerkalo. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  24. ^ "Turkish Foreign Minister expresses his attitude to the Armenia’s plan to build Airport in the occupied territories Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine." APA.
  25. ^ "GUAM Secretary General Valeri Chechelashvil: "The international airport can not operate in Nagorno Karabakh"". Trend. May 4, 2011. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  26. ^ "The construction of an airport in the occupied Azerbaijani territories by Armenia". Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. April 14, 2011. Archived from the original on April 15, 2011. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
  27. ^ Türkiye Ermenistan`a hava sahasını kapatacak Archived 2014-08-29 at the Wayback Machine October 12, 2012. (in Turkish)
  28. ^ "Karabakh's airport still waiting for takeoff | Eurasianet".

External linksEdit

External linksEdit

  Media related to Stepanakert Airport at Wikimedia Commons